Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Carolyn

Me and Carolyn in Philly
I am constantly reminded of the fact that I have some incredible people in my life. After settling in here at BFA, naturally I wanted to share it with my family. This past spring, after college graduation and much deliberation, my sister Carolyn dived into the hiring process. The journey has been exciting, and God’s calling in her life is obvious. God has given Carolyn energy, humor, wisdom, and most of all, a love for Him with a desire to know His will that increases every day. She has a love for high school students, and a heart of compassion. In my journey to get here, Carolyn was one of my biggest encouragers and cheerleaders, checking up on me constantly. She is my best friend, and I am so excited that God is leading her here. She is coming to BFA to be an RA at Liel dorm, a girl’s dorm. As you likely know, it takes time, effort, and a lot of faith to raise money for anything. Right now, Carolyn is experiencing that first hand. She is taking advantage of every opportunity to share about the ministry here, and we are praying hard that her support will come in very soon. The school year started yesterday, but she can only come once her pledged support level hits 90%. Now, her support level jumped to 30% the other day, which is miles ahead of where it had been for the last month. With 60% to go, we are praying for miracles! I am asking you to partner with us in praying that God will get her here soon. Our God is great, powerful, and good, all the time. He knows our needs before we ask, so I am confident that this is all happening according to His divine timetable. Please pray! If you are interested in giving, please visit this website: http://www.teachbeyond.org/ and click the Donate tab. Thank you for reading, and also for your continued support of me. We serve an amazing God!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Home sweet Sonne – Amazing what a little paint can do!

After several weeks of orientation, we are now back up the hill and nearly finished preparing the dorm for the arrival of our students. This year I have the privilege of serving with Chris Jones, and Marty and Debbie Shilling, all experienced staff who were here last year. We are happy to welcome Timmy Gaster as our third RA. He is new to Sonne, but not to BFA. Timmy was an RA at Maugenhard for two years before taking a year away and then returning this year. We are excited to have Timmy as part of our team. The students begin to arrive tomorrow, and there has been a lot to do to prep the dorm so it is sparkling for their arrival. We had lots of cleaning, repairs, and renovations to keep us busy in the mean time. We also were blessed to have the help of a work team from the US. They painted our first floor hallway and kitchen, and helped with many other tasks around the dorm. We were so thankful for their help! My room received a fresh coat of paint in a new color. I’m just about done rearranging and placing all of my things, so I’ll post pics soon. I love the feeling the dorm has right now. It has an air of excited anticipation. I have to say, that I am greatly anticipating the arrival of our students. We have had a lot of meetings as a staff, and as we’ve discussed our guys, I have this mounting excitement to see them and work with them. Each one brings his specific needs and strengths to the table. As I think about them, I find myself asking God to work through me, use me, and keep me out of the way. This is His work, and I want to do it in His time and way. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Meet Katie


Although Csehy is over, I want you to meet one of the remarkable young people that we work with.  Katie is a young woman whose life has literally been transformed by God’s grace. With her permission, I'd like to share her story with you. Katie has been a camper for the past seven summers, and was always happy and fun to be around. Two winters ago, Katie was involved in a life-threatening ski accident. I’ll never forget receiving the message that Katie had been air-lifted to the hospital and had doctors working around the clock helping her fight for her life. She had broken many bones, punctured a rib, and could possibly be paralyzed for life. As the days and weeks passed, friends and family prayed diligently for Katie, but things did not look good. Friends from camp and home visited Katie, and helped as much as they could. Her best friend Nancy never stopped praying for, visiting, and encouraging her. Despite many treatments and surgeries, doctors did not give her much hope of ever being able to walk again. Her parents had the house completely remodeled to accommodate Katie’s wheelchair. Katie would live, but it seemed she wouldn’t lead a normal life. In spite of all of the discouraging facts she was being given, however, Katie refused to give up hope. She wasn’t supposed to be able to move from the waist down again, but only 26 days after the accident Katie moved her toes. Soon she began to move her legs. When Katie tried walking, one doctor told her that she wouldn’t be able to walk more than 50 feet. “I walked 500, just to spite him,” says Katie, with a spunky grin. In summer 2010, Katie returned to Csehy in a wheelchair, but with high spirits. She desperately wanted her independence. This past summer, Katie again came to Csehy. This time, she was able to walk up to me and give me a hug. God has literally raised her up and set her back on her feet. Her walk is still a bit shaky, but knowing Katie, she will likely keep getting stronger. The most beautiful part of this story is that Katie readily acknowledges God’s hand in all of this. She even shared with the girls on my hall that God used this accident and the journey following it to draw her closer to Himself. 
Katie freely talks about the events related here, and when she does, she glows with God's grace. She knows that He saved her life for a purpose, and what I see in her is a unique courage that will meet whatever difficulty she meets with Godly strength. She is an example for me of trust and faith in the God who created us. I am excited to see how God will continue to use this remarkable young lady.

Simply Trusting,
Lauren

Katie and me at Csehy
PS: I am safely back in Germany, and will be posting again in the next day or so about the happenings here. Thanks for your prayers!